Alex James: Nothing could please me more

Rural Notebook

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There was a time when I wanted stuff to happen. The bits where nothing was happening. Well, they were wasted moments as far as I was concerned. "Boring!" I sneered at the slightest dip in the pace. "Bring me another spaceship!" "How do I make this go faster, louder, bigger, upside down...?"

I'm sure it has something to do with country living, a sense of time and space ranging beyond the all-consuming distractions, the square-foot-per-minute focus and hustle of city life, but recently I've grown to appreciate the little pauses more than the action sequences. These are without doubt the best bits for the ageing rock gentleman. The glacial pace and momentum of agriculture, the superhuman rhythms of the seasons: it's all wonderfully calming and I don't know, sometimes I'm so overwhelmed by the grand spectacle of life in widescreen technicolour I can barely cope with beholding the scenery, or the sunshine on my face.

Well, I'd just got the new barbecue going. There was only one slightly singed fringe and a minor nosebleed among the children. Children love fire and I was just thinking this was all quite exciting as I came back outside with the chipolatas in my hand to a gust powerful enough to lay the daffodils flat and a roar that stopped our hearts and set them going again twice as fast. From nowhere, a light aircraft skimmed the garden at around 20ft, below the tallest trees. We ran out into the field to wave. It was Tony, my old flying instructor. I spotted him over the campsite descending again, he bounced off the top field, evidently liked the look of it, made another approach and landed between open-mouthed campers and sheep that didn't seem to notice. Maybe a little excitement's not such a bad thing. Runway 27 is open for summer. Should make touring a bit easier.

Only the best hay for Dubai

I'm looking after some of Carole Bamford's Aberdeen Angus steers, destined for Daylesford Organic and Michelin-starred kitchens across the land. Handsome beasts. I was trying to think if there was a higher-class animal when Fred the sheep farmer came running up to tell me he's sold all last year's hay from the field where the plane landed to a goat farmer in Dubai. They must be some kind of posh goats over there.

Find comfort in cheese

Lunch with Randolph Hodgson from Neal's Yard Dairy on Friday: the King of Cheese himself. He says there's more cheese flying out of his shops than ever at the moment. Well, cheese is a bargain and it's bombproof. You can't download it, borrow it or make it in the Far East. If more people are eating more good cheese than ever, surely things can't be all that bad.

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